Sports

Promising Season Ahead For Baseball

Eastern’s baseball club is coming out of hibernation as a new team to start off the 2015 season, forgetting about last season. The Eagles open up with six away games. First the Eagles travel to Catholic University (2/21), followed by John Hopkins (2/28), Mary Washington (3/1), Methodist University (3/4), Lynchburg College (3/6) and finally Immaculata University (3/11) to end the away stretch. The Eagles open up at home on Friday the 13th (March).

Junior Joe Grato looks to have a big season this spring.Erica Engle | EU Sports Information

Junior Joe Grato looks to have a big season this spring.

The Eagles were 7-27 last season, with an away record of 1-15 and a home record of 6-8. The team lacked chemistry, as the club was unbalanced. Eastern’s opponents outscored them 276 to 190. When the game was close, and the pitching staff performed the offense could not manage to produce runs. On the other hand, when the offense produced runs, the pitching was being knocked around. Key for the Eagles this season is finding chemistry within the players and their sophomore coach Jed Morris. The Eagles welcome back Morris, as last season was his first season as the Eagles head coach. Coach Morris was an incredible catcher for the Cornhuskers, so with his experience working with pitchers look to him to shape the Eagles’ pitching rotation. On a positive note, the Eagles had five players recognized by the Freedom Conference last season. Retired Andrew DiFerdinando was named on the Freedom Conference First team, while Andrew Check, Ryan McMenamin, Eric Rossi and Joe Grato were named honorable mention players.

The Eagle’s roster consists of 16 new players, 14 of which are freshman. Of those 14 freshman recruits, eight are pitchers. Last season the Eagles had a staggering ERA of 7.38. The pitching staff had a total of 118 strikeouts and 148 walks. With these new arms in the rotation, the pitching rotation will become more diverse, with potential to cut the walks and ERA in half. Look for senior pitchers Austin Little and Tom Gordon to lead this young rotation as they have plenty to learn.

Offensively, the Eagles batting lineup is an intimidating bunch this season. Batters McMenamin, Check, and Grato will look to stay hot this season. Combined they batted .325, with a total of 114 hits. Outfielder Angelo Kelly returns to the Eagles this season, certainly adding depth to this high-powered offense. Kelly put up impressive numbers as a freshman, batting .284 with 31 hits. Impressively, in 109 at bats he only struck out nine times, so the man does not miss the ball. Look for him as well to help push the offense and defense. Overall, the Eagles offense looks impressive with a balance of contact and power hitters.

A tip of the hat to the Eagles’ seniors: Gordon, Little, Rossi, and McMenamin. In their last season, I can see them turning up the intensity and making a statement as leaders. Good luck, Eagles baseball!

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